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Russia's Move to Send Troops to Ukraine Spurs Talk of War

Published: March 3, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • An activist stands protected and on guard in Kiev.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russian lawmakers have given President Vladimir Putin the go-ahead to use Russian troops in Ukraine, a move that has thrown the international community into a tizzy and prompted Ukraine to mobilize its own troops.

The Federation Council's approval of the measure on Saturday has further complicated the Ukraine crisis, which began with mass protests in Kiev in November after then-President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Since then, Ukraine has been at the center of a tug-of-war between Russia and the EU — but only now has the conflict given way to warnings of World War Three.

Related: Local Activists Protest in Kiev

After Yanukovych's ouster and the establishment of a new de facto government, Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns for the safety of Russian-speakers in Crimea, saying they face discrimination and possible violence by the hands of nationalists.

It is precisely this concern that Putin cited when seeking lawmakers' approval for military involvement in Ukraine. He asked the upper chamber of parliament to allow him to use Russia's Black Sea Fleet based in southern Ukraine "in connection with extraordinary circumstances that have developed in Ukraine," which pose "a threat to the lives of Russian nationals" and to the Russian troops in Ukraine themselves, the Kremlin website reported.

Putin's concern seemed to be vindicated on Sunday, when Russia's Border Guard Service said it had recorded 675,000 civilians fleeing from Ukraine into Russia in the past two months, 143,000 of those in the past fortnight, Interfax reported.

Putin's request for military involvement came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama issued a stark warning to Russia, saying "the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

Later Saturday, the Federation Council unanimously approved Putin's request, which is mandated by the Russian Constitution, Interfax reported.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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